Should You Change Your Toothbrush After Sickness?

Winter is the most common time for sickness for people of all ages. From this season’s particularly bad flu virus to the garden variety cold, the chances that you will get sick at least once are higher than ever this time of year. After you get well, it is important that you take some steps to prevent falling ill yet again. That includes sanitizing the house — and your dentist wants to remind you that means your toothbrush, too! Even if you just had a minor cold, getting a new toothbrush will prevent you from redistributing bacteria and getting sick once again.


Conventional wisdom says you need to purchase a new toothbrush every three to four months, or as soon as its bristles begin to show evidence of wear and tear. The same goes for an electric toothbrush — you should regularly replace the toothbrush head to achieve the most effective clean. Remember never to share a toothbrush without soaking it in mouthwash or dropping it into boiling water first.

Three to four months is the standard for toothbrush replacement — unless you get sick. You can’t take a break from brushing your teeth during the flu or a stomach virus. In fact, cleaning your teeth is perhaps even more important during sickness, as bacteria imbalances can leave you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Keep brushing as normal until you get well — and once you have, toss that toothbrush and purchase a new one. You can also sanitize the brush by dropping it into a pot of boiling water for about 3 minutes.


As we have covered, it is of the utmost importance to maintain proper oral hygiene when you are under the weather. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth and body hydrated, brush your mouth for two minutes, twice a day, and floss your teeth daily. If you have a sore throat, avoid sucking on candy or cough drops that contain sugar, as this will increase your risk of developing cavities while you are sick. Brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting can be damaging to the tooth enamel, so rinse with water and wait for about half an hour before brushing if you can stand to wait.

Once you have healed, it is a good idea to schedule a dental appointment if you are about to be due for a visit anyway. During a routine checkup and cleaning, your family dentist can ensure that your teeth and gums made it through sickness without any damaging effects.

Meet the Practice

Dr. Todd Canatella and Dr. Rachel Neumeyer are proud New Orleans natives and trusted providers of general dentistry for patients of all ages. To learn more about their comprehensive services or to schedule an appointment for you or a loved one, you are invited to contact the office at 504-717-4259.